RSE Enterprise Fellowships awarded to three academics to accelerate world-class research.

The RSE Enterprise Fellowship programme welcomes the next cohort of academic entrepreneurs to take their commercial ideas in research and technology and turn them into thriving, successful businesses.

The programme provides the awardees with cutting-edge business training from St Johns Innovation Centre, one year’s salary, access to business support funding, as well as networking and mentorship with an established business expert.

Meet our newest Enterprise Fellows and find out more about their innovation:

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Dr Charlotte Henderson, University of Portsmouth
Funder: BBSRC

Company/Project: RevoNA, revolutionising RNA therapeutic discovery

RevoNA’s patented Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) technology platform provides fast, information-rich data for RNA therapeutic discovery. RNA therapeutics have the potential to play a critical role in diseases that remain inaccessible with traditional drug targets. However, existing RNA-specific R&D tools are either slow, costly, and labour intensive, or fast but provide limited information.

RevoNA aims to revolutionize RNA research by generating data to enable the rapid discovery of new RNA disease targets as well as unlocking the rapid identification and optimization of candidate drugs, offering hope against currently undruggable diseases.

Dr Charlotte Henderson said: “The award of the BBSRC/RSE enterprise fellowship gave me great excitement, knowing I will be supported in the transition from researcher to entrepreneur. It is extremely rewarding that the value and commercial potential of my discoveries on RNA therapeutic research is recognized. I can’t wait to start my journey and be part of finding the solution to treating undruggable diseases.”

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Dr Charilaos Kourogiorgas, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Harwell, Oxfordshire
Funder: STFC
Company/project: Atheras Analytics Ltd

The satellite telecommunications sector is going through a phase of major change in the delivery of consumer and enterprise broadband using High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) which can deliver data rates of the order of 100 Gbps – 1 Tbps per satellite. To support these higher data rates, it is necessary to employ higher frequency bands, but these higher frequency bands are much more susceptible to atmospheric attenuation, and hence network outages, than those previously used. The use of these higher frequency bands requires the use of advanced network management techniques to manage these outages and provide acceptable levels of commercial service availability.

Atheras Analytics has developed a portfolio of AI-based, SaaS-delivered network management software tools that enable the prediction, management and mitigation of these weather outages and enable operators to achieve their required commercial levels of network availability.

Dr Kourogiorgas said: “The RSE Enterprise Fellowship is a unique opportunity for me and Atheras Analytics. As I have been employed during my career mostly in research and technology positions, the RSE fellowship will help me develop my skills regarding business perspectives through modules and mentorship, while resources are provided through the fund to further develop and expand the innovative products of Atheras Analytics.”

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Dr Nicholas Furtak-Wells, University of Leeds
Funder: RSE
Company/project: NIQS Technology Ltd, Revolutionising diabetes management with continuous, non-invasive glucose monitors

Diabetes is a growing issue – Currently, there are 463 million people living with diabetes worldwide and this number is predicted to grow to 700 million over the next 25 years.

The current state-of-the-art glucose monitors are finger-prick (blood) tests and wearable continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) with invasive fibres that are inserted underneath the skin. Finger prick tests require people to pierce the skin on their fingers and draw 5-10 blood samples per day, which is invasive, painful, not cost-effective, non-reusable, and they provide no dynamic information about glucose levels. The alternative is CGMs, but these still require breaking the skin barrier with an invasive fibre and they are not cost-effective because they are not reusable.

NIQS (Non-Invasive Quantum Sensing) Technology is solving these issues by developing next generation optical sensors that will revolutionise sustainable diabetes management. Our unique sensing technology represents a significant step-change in both glucose monitoring and wider sensing applications, and it will enable people living with diabetes to accurately measure their glucose levels, without requiring blood samples or breaking the skin surface.

Dr Furtak-Wells said: “We have always been very passionate about science that will have an impact in the real world, so it is amazing to see both the novelty and commercial potential of our work validated by RSE. I’m really looking forward to working with the business experts during the programme, which will help to accelerate our commercialisation journey and take NIQS to the next level.”